Pablo Mastroeni to Appear on "Emeril Live" Monday Night!

NEW YORK (By Jason Halpin - Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni is ready for primetime of a different sort as he'll appear along with Jimmy Conrad of the Kansas City Wizards on the Food Network's Emeril Live this Monday July 2 at 6 p.m. MT.

The pair of MLS and U.S. national team standouts spent an hour-and-a-half taping the show with Emeril Lagasse the original Food Network star chatting about soccer in the United States and of course indulging in Emeril's well known spicy fare.

For Mastroeni taping the show was an opportunity to meet an idol.

"Emeril has been a hero of mine just because I like cooking and he's kind of the godfather of the 'cool cooks'" Mastroeni said. "He's the man when it comes to cooking as far as I'm concerned.

"It was almost a surreal moment for me he added. "Being such a big fan of his for the last 10 years it was like being in the presence of my favorite soccer player being in the presence of Diego Maradona in a weird way in a different way. You have the same type of respect."

Ever the gracious host Emeril first greeted the players in the green room as they snacked on a "pregame" spread. Then out in the studio the superstar chef made sure his guests' plates and glasses were never empty. Mastroeni said he was a fan of the host's tacos with tequila-marinated flank steak and pepper sautee.

Emeril's kindness impressed the Rapids veteran.

"It was a pleasure to see someone with so much clout so much prestige to be so humble and so giving and so thankful he said. "He was real grateful that we had the opportunity to stop by and spread the message of soccer and what that means to the younger kids in America."

Having been a fan of Emeril for so long meeting the man and tasting his food first-hand might have made a disciple out of Mastroeni who said his wife gets a kick out of his Emeril impersonations.

"It was everything I anticipated Mastroeni said. "Like I said I've been watching Emeril for a while trying to get new cooking ideas new recipe ideas and then I got turned on to his persona. He made cooking look like it was cool and really put a lot of soul into it.

"So I walk around the house with a towel over my shoulder when I'm cooking as well."

Jason Halpin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the Colorado Rapids or Major League Soccer.